What will America look like at mid century? US 2050, an initiative of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation, examines and analyzes the multiple demographic, socioeconomic, and fiscal trends that will shape the nation in the decades ahead. Engaging leading scholars in the areas of demographics, poverty, labor economics, macroeconomics, political science, and sociology, US 2050 creates a more comprehensive view of our economic and fiscal future — and the implications for the social and financial well-being of Americans.

Project Description

In the coming decades, a transformational wave of foreseeable demographic changes will create a new American tapestry. Social, economic, and technological changes will reshape the domestic and global economy, and the nation’s fiscal condition will face increasing challenges resulting from a range of factors, including an aging society and a structural mismatch between spending and revenues. These interconnected trends will have significant, but not yet fully understood, implications for the social and financial well-being of Americans. US 2050 will explore these issues and their link to the country’s fiscal and economic health.

The project’s goal is to foster a clearer vision of America’s future and spur a sense of urgency to address pressing policy concerns, thereby laying the groundwork for better outcomes. It engages leading scholars and provides grants to support research. In its broadest form, the main research question of US 2050 is:

How do the changing demographics of America — including aging, race, ethnicity, and other factors — affect the future fiscal and economic health of the nation, and what are the best policies to prepare for and respond to the challenges and opportunities that this future presents?

Papers go beneath the national median and aggregate trends to examine differences and similarities of subgroups in the population and examine how our changing demographics intersect with our changing economy.

The insights and learnings gained from the new work are shared at gatherings that bring together authors of papers, academic and substantive experts, and, ultimately, policy leaders.

A distinguished Advisory Committee is guiding the project, bringing valuable expertise across the key research disciplines. The Committee is coordinated by the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution and has assisted with the framing of research questions, selection of successful proposals and the review of submitted papers.

Research Projects

US 2050 commissioned thirty-one experts from multiple disciplines to explore the many evolving factors. The research projects take a longitudinal look at trends to provide new insights into the dynamic interaction between individual circumstances, educational and work opportunities and barriers, and private behavior and decisions with larger public policy and economic forces that influence our future:

FISCAL ISSUES ILLUSTRATED

This series of infographics helps put some of today's most pressing fiscal debates in context.

The National Debt Is Now More than $22 Trillion

With this unfortunate milestone, building a sustainable economic future becomes more challenging.

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